The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in a shooting that killed 9-year-old Markiya Dickson and wounded an 11-year-old boy and an adult during a Memorial Day weekend celebration in a Richmond park.
David Archey, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond office, announced the reward during a news conference Tuesday at city police headquarters.
“We know that neither the [Richmond police] chief nor the FBI can do their jobs without information from the public,” Archey said. “We can’t make solid cases that lead to good prosecutions without witnesses. Part of the FBI’s mission is to assist state or local law enforcement authorities, and as part of that, today we join the Richmond Police Department to say this case is important to us, and ask that witnesses continue to come forward.”
Chief William Smith said the department has received a “large outpouring of support and information” from residents of the neighborhood where the shooting occurred at Carter Jones Park on May 26, along with those who were in the park that day. But he said investigators still do not have enough to solve the case.
“There still remains those who have the most information, and they remain silent,” Smith said.
Richmond police Lt. Faith Flippo, who heads homicide investigations, said detectives are in great need of an eyewitness.
“We need an eyewitness to come forward and help us link all of the pieces that we have,” she implored. “No crimes can be solved without the help of an eyewitness. We need you to come forward; it’s the right thing to do.”
Flippo said the FBI reward provides “one more reason to come forward.”
She displayed a map on a video screen that highlighted the areas where the victims were struck by gunfire in relation to the park and surrounding neighborhood.
“We’re showing this to you all in hopes that it will trigger someone to come forward,” she said.
Flippo noted that police originally reported that two children, including Markiya, were shot at the park. Police said a third gunshot victim, a man who had been in the park enjoying the festivities, subsequently came forward. The man’s injuries were not considered life-threatening.
“What we know of the event is that there were two groups fighting,” Flippo said. “There was more than one gunman, and we do not believe that this act was random. However, our victims were innocently caught in the crossfire.”
Several days after the shooting, Richmond police said they had received information that three men were seen fleeing from the park with weapons during the event and released descriptions of the men. On Tuesday, the police said they now would prefer that the public not focus on those earlier descriptions.
Department spokesman James Mercante said in an email that the authorities “want eyewitnesses to come forward with what/who they saw without concern about their accounts and if they differ from earlier reports.”
Also this week, in a symbolic vote, the Richmond City Council on Monday approved Mayor Levar Stoney’s proposed ordinance to ban guns in public parks and city-owned buildings.
In announcing his proposal last month, Stoney had cited the fatal shooting of Markiya at Carter Jones Park and the mass shooting at a Virginia Beach government center that left 12 people dead and four wounded in May.
The ordinance approved Monday conflicts with current state law and won’t take effect unless the Virginia General Assembly allows localities to prohibit guns in municipal buildings at a special session set for July 9.
Anyone with information that may lead to the identification of the people responsible for the shooting at Carter Jones Park can call Richmond police or the FBI at (804) 261-1044 or go to tips.fbi.gov.